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Google Might Get Into Hosted Gaming Via YouTube December 30, 2009

Posted by andre in Internet & Communities.
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YouTube is the world’s online video portal, but if a recent patent application filed by Google is any indication, it may be looking to become an interactive gaming portal as well.

The patent, “Web-based System for Generation of Interactive Games Based on Digital Videos,” was filed by Google earlier this year but published this month. Uncovered by BNET, the Google patent seems to detail a system where the creation of video annotations can be used for gaming-like mechanics and video behavior change.

The following is the full abstract from the patent application:

“Systems and methods are provided for adding and displaying interactive annotations for existing online hosted videos. A graphical annotation interface allows the creation of annotations and association of the annotations with a video. Annotations may be of different types and have different functionality, such as altering the appearance and/or behavior of an existing video, e.g. by supplementing it with text, allowing linking to other videos or web pages, or pausing playback of the video. Authentication of a user desiring to perform annotation of a video may be performed in various manners, such as by checking a uniform resource locator (URL) against an existing list, checking a user identifier against an access list, and the like. As a result of authentication, a user is accorded the appropriate annotation abilities, such as full annotation, no annotation, or annotation restricted to a particular temporal or spatial portion of the video.”

While there are already annotations within YouTube videos, they don’t have this type of functionality. With the behavior described in this patent, you could create a game that jumps from video to video based on your responses or one that pauses the video and requires you to answer a question before resuming playback. It also has potential applications in advertising mechanics.

It’s tough to tell just from the patent what Google intends to do with this technology, but the fact that the patent focuses on interactive games gives us our best clue. YouTube-based gaming may be in our not-so-distant future.

via Is YouTube About to Jump into Online Gaming?

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Will YouTube Begin Charging for TV Shows? December 1, 2009

Posted by pannet in Multimedia.
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YouTube is in talks with content providers to add a pay-per view element to its business, which would allow partners to charge end users to view some premium content on the online video site, according to MediaMemo’s “multiple sources.”

The talks center around YouTube creating a new micro-payment model for streaming videos that would rival similar offerings from Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s video-on-demand service. According to the report, YouTube would offer first-run shows a day after airing on broadcast and cable networks for about $1.99 each.

The news comes not long after earlier reports that YouTube was in talks with major film studios to introduce a movie rental service. In that report, YouTube was expected to charge about $3.99 for movie streams, putting it in general parity with movie rentals from iTunes and Amazon.

The key stumbling block seems to be whether consumers would pay for video streams at the same price that they pay for downloads from iTunes. But networks and studios don’t want to charge less for streaming service, fearing they might then have to renegotiate existing deals.

While Youtube already has some full-length programming from premium content partners, most notably CBS, most of that content is older, long-tail videos from shows long gone by, like Start Trek: The Original Series or Beverly Hills: 90210. But if it were able to launch a micropayments system, it could potentially open up a new realm of premium videos available to users.

YouTube isn’t the only ad-supported video site pondering a pay model; Hulu has long been rumored to be interested launching a subscription service that would add to its revenue stream, for instance. In both cases, the pay models aren’t meant to supplant the ad model, but to add additional revenue for value-added services on top of the existing business model.

via Will YouTube Begin Charging for TV Shows?.

3 Rules For Social Media September 20, 2009

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Matt Singley is talking about social norms and rules of interaction in social networks:

One of the wonderful things about social media is that it’s still a bit of the Wild West.  Sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, while all covered nicely with their Terms of Service Agreements, are really very self-governing in terms of what content is produced.  When I talk to thought leaders and everyday users of these spaces about rules and norms, the divide is evenly split, with half saying that there should be rules imposed, the other half saying that it’s free speech all the way.  I tend to fall into the latter camp, although I do have three rules of my own that I try to follow.  Why?  Because I really do believe in social norms, and even though we are interacting with people in a digital sense, we are still interacting…we’re sharing the space and I want to do my part to be a good person. […]

via 3 Rules For Social Media » Matt Singley | Social Media Optimization

Clicker is a TV guide for the Internet age | VentureBeat September 17, 2009

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Clicker, a startup launching at the TechCrunch50 conference in San Francisco today, says one of the problems with watching TV online is figuring out what’s on: Where’s our TV guide for the web? Clicker says it’s the first “structured, comprehensive and unbiased guide for online television.”It’s raised $8 million from Benchmark Capital and Redpoint Ventures. It also has an upcoming distribution deal with Boxee, to let users search for content directly on their TV sets.

The problem with the web now is that video search engines are often incomplete or poorly designed, Clicker says. You can search Hulu, but the results only show excerpts and don’t include clips from other sites. YouTube, naturally, only searches the mostly user-generated content it hosts.Clicker not only tells you what video is available on the web now, but also what’s missing. It demonstrated this by searching for Seinfeld and coming up with only six episodes. Clicker points to the page where the video’s hosted; it doesn’t necessarily host or embed the videos itself. Users can also add data about the show, putting in tags or memorable quotes.The site is in private beta over the next few weeks.

It has a couple of business models: it could function on advertising or share revenue with sites it directs a lot of traffic toward. It could also offer a paid pro version. […]

Flip vs iPod Nano: Flip Wins For Now September 13, 2009

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When you have sold over 100 million iPod Nanos, then as a company you need a new schtick to keep the momentum going. So Apple introduced a really skinny iPod Nano model that has a built in video camera so that you can record videos and share them to YouTube, Facebook, Mobile Me or Email. Since I don’t own a Flip, I thought well maybe this might be a good option. I tried out the device and within a few minutes I realized that this is not for me. Why? The camera is positioned in a really awkward position which makes usage very unintuitive. I guess someone wasn’t quite thinking. Any how does it stack up against Flip? Chris and Liz did a side-by-side comparison of the new iPod Nano with Flip SD and are underwhelmed by the new Nano. You can check out their video overview and reviews here. (Photo of iPod Nano, courtesy of Apple.)

via Flip vs iPod Nano: Flip Wins For Now.

Sony brings Web TV service to Europe September 5, 2009

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Sony is planning to bring its Bravia Internet Video service to Europe on Bravia TVs, Blu-ray players and home theatre systems, the company has revealed at the IFA show currently taking place in Berlin, and is currently in testing phase with a number of European broadcasters. From early 2010, Sony plans to equip a number of its products with the Xross Media Bar, similar to that employed in the PlayStation 3 games console, meaning that live broadcast and on-demand content will be accessible on a number of Sony devices via the Internet. Sony is reported to be currently testing with European broadcasters including Germany’s ARD, France’s M6, Italy’s Mediaset, Spain’s RTVE, Antena3 and LaSexta, and the UK’s Five.Bravia Internet Video will also offer short-form content from a variety of sources, including YouTube, Dailymotion and the technology magazine Wired. The US version of the service is already well-developed, offering content from over 25 providers, including Netflix, Amazon On Demand and – of course – Sony Pictures.

Google buys videotech firm On2, but YouTube costs aren’t as high as rumored August 5, 2009

Posted by hruf in Internet & Communities, Multimedia.
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Google’s YouTube division is a victim of its own success. A source inside the company told TechCrunch that YouTube streams close to 1.5 billion video clips every day. That makes sense, if you think of it as everyone on the Internet watching one clip daily.

Google CFO Patrick Pichette told Fortune that the company now collects ad revenue on 13 percent of the clips it serves. Still, streaming videos to customers costs money. Video content on YouTube can run up to 100 megabytes per clip. YouTube has another bandwidth-eater: Its search engine, the company told Fortune, is now the second busiest on the Net after Google. (Customers upload 20 minutes’ worth of video to YouTube every minute, but that’s nowhere near the amount of outbound traffic.)

This is why Google has agreed to buy video bandwidth reducer On2 for about $106 million. On2’s main product is video compression technology for the Adobe Flash player YouTube uses to play videos. Compression technology analyzes a video stream and figures out how to reduce its size without losing video and audio quality.

For customers, On2’s tech may speed up the download time before a clip starts and reduce the total network traffic eaten up by watching lots of YouTube. For Google, On2’s big value add will be reducing the costs of serving a couple of billion clips a day by reducing the amount of network capacity required to transmit the video to customers.

On2’s technology could reduce network costs for YouTube enough to bring profitability in reach.

via Google buys videotech firm On2, but YouTube costs aren’t as high as rumored | VentureBeat.

Google: YouTube Will Soon Be “Very Profitable” July 17, 2009

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YouTube will be “very profitable” in the “not too distant future,” Google CFO Patrick Pichette said on the company’s quarterly earnings call today. The site’s monetized views have “more than tripled in the past year,” according to Jonathan Rosenberg, SVP of product management. “We’re now monetizing billions of views of partner videos every month.”

Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who’d previously given YouTube a few public spankings about pulling its weight in revenue, said today he was “very pleased” with the site’s money-making trajectory. […]

Read the full article at Google: YouTube Will Soon Be “Very Profitable”

Macrovision re-invents itself as Rovi, kicks off with new guide “Liquid” July 17, 2009

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Hold on to your hats folks because the company that we love to hate is turning over a new leaf by kicking off its old DRM shoes and leveraging its acquisition of Gemstar in a big way. What we mean is that this is the first time in the history of Macrovision that we can remember being excited about an announcement; and boy does it make perfect sense that it comes with a new company name. Rovi’s first consumer product should be available in various HDTVs next year, and among the new jazzed up looking guide you can expect a full DLNA client that is designed to be a single access point for all of your content. This includes internet sourced content like Slacker radio, YouTube XL, BLOCKBUSTER OnDemand, and CinemaNow; as well as anything you might have on your PC like pictures, music and even videos. Add in a little social networking from sites such as Flixster and we might have ourselves a new way to watch TV. No word yet on what new TVs will feature Liquid, but we’d expect to hear more at CES ’10. The full release is after the jump. […]

via Macrovision re-invents itself as Rovi, kicks off with new guide “Liquid”.

YouTube’s Pitch to Hollywood July 10, 2009

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YouTube came to Los Angeles this week to seek out content partners, pitching them its 3-month-old redesign for premium content. “This was a big strategy change for us, one of the most significant ones to date,” said Jordan Hoffner, the site’s director of content partnerships, noting the site’s new “clean, well-lit” shows page was “the first navigation change in about two and a half years.” Hoffner emphasized online distribution of long-form content as a companion to television, but with fewer ads and the opportunity to get audience feedback.

But television content has not yet been particularly successful on YouTube. According to recent stats from TubeMogul, full-length shows average only 7,407.9 views per episode. Perhaps the TV content the site has secured isn’t high value enough; perhaps it should do more to promote the stuff it can actually run pre-rolls on. For whatever reason, few people look to YouTube to watch TV shows online. […]

via YouTube’s Pitch to Hollywood